Maria Shriver continued to receive paychecks from NBC for more than three years after she left “Dateline” due to her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger’s swearing in as California governor.
Shriver left the network in February 2004, three months after Schwarzenegger took office. But statements the governor has been required to file indicate that Shriver received between $100,000 and $1 million during each of the last three years, with the last payment coming in August 2007.
The payments were part of an “exit agreement” Shriver arranged with the network after executives became wary of conflict of interest charges, with her continuing to work as a journalist while she was the state’s first lady.
The brass became uncomfortable in particular because Shriver was reportedly playing a key behind-the-scenes role in Schwarzenegger’s administration, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to Daniel Zingale, Shriver’s chief of staff, if NBC had fired her the network would have been required to pay her full salary for the three years remaining on her contract.
“Instead, Shriver resigned with an option to eventually return to the news division,” and received only a portion of her salary for those three years, the Times disclosed.
The exit agreement, with Shriver’s option to return, expired last year.
However, a large office in “Dateline’s” Los Angeles-area bureau is still assigned to Shriver, a news division employee told the Times, and no one has been allowed to move into the office.
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